On Standby

Good morning,

It’s been awhile, friends.

My summer as a camp director has been nothing short of busy and exhausting – but also exhilarating and fulfilling. I’ve had a ton of ideas burst into my mind about where I want to take this blog but the one thing that I need in order to do that is something I don’t have much of: time.

With less time, comes less devotion to writing and less posts which has been both disappointing and freeing.

At the beginning of 2017, I crafted personal resolutions that I hoped to fulfill before the end of the year. What I didn’t realize is that some of them are going to have to be put on the back-burner while I finish out my last summer working at camp.

Here, we really have a classic case of thinking you can take on everything as long as you want it badly enough.

I’ve felt burdened any time I’ve thought about posting since camp started in May – which is weird, because does anyone even read this thing? To give myself some peace of mind and comfort knowing that I can take a break from something I love, I’m putting the blog on standby until the end of the summer.

As corny as it sounds: it‘s not goodbye, it’s see you later.

If you feel so inclined, you can read some of my older posts that relate to self care and giving yourself a break:

The Counterintuitive Idea of Taking a Break From the Things You Love

Stress is an Attitude

How Do You Self-Care?

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With love from camp,

Lain

 

Stress is an Attitude

Hello, friends!

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve word vomited my thoughts here, eh?

I’d like to blame that on an overwhelming amount of stress. I could go on and on about the 500 things on my to-do list but I’d rather not bore you to tears.

I don’t know about y’all, but when I get really really stressed, my mood tanks. I get irritable, defensive, and super sensitive (special apologies to my bf who puts up with these mood swings). This shift has been especially bad for the last two weeks as my first year of grad school comes down to finals week. Dun-dun-duuuun!

When I was sitting in my office at my internship, feeling pathetically sorry for myself, a quote I read awhile ago crossed my mind: “Stress is an attitude.” In that moment, the meaning of those words sunk in.

STRESS IS AN ATTITUDE

STRESS IS AN ATTITUDE.

Y’all, when that thought popped in my head, I laughed out loud – I don’t know if this was a reflex or a defense mechanism but I literally laughed and I could not stop.

People say (specifically, annoyingly optimistic people) that your thoughts determine your mood. Actually, there are entire psychological theories founded on this idea. You don’t have to subscribe to this idea – I’ll respect you if you don’t because it seems too good to be true, right? But it gives you the power over your mood again – so your mood’s not controlling you, you’re controlling your mood.

Challenge yourself to reframe your thoughts.

I’m so stressed,” can easily turn into, “I have a lot on my plate right now. How can I stay on top of everything?

I don’t have enough time to get everything done,” can become “How can I improve my time-management?

The end of spring inevitably brings a lot of stress into our lives with school years ending, summer planning beginning, and big transitions into the next season. You might be graduating, moving into your apartment, preparing for a traveling adventure. Whatever it is – don’t let stress rule over you!

Stress is an attitude and you have the power to change it.

De-stressed is best, y’all! Until next time.

XO,

Lain

20 Questions to Help Know Yourself Better

Happy Sunday, y’all!

 

I’m now in the midst of beginning applications for my final internship for grad school. It’s shocking to me how quickly this first year has flown by and here I am, with graduation only another short year away. Madness!

Anyways, as I fill out form after form after form and spend my free time crafting cover letters, my mind is constantly inundated with trying to answer prompts ranging from: “Tell us about yourself,” “What qualifications and skills do you bring to this position?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

I think we can all agree that these questions can be super freaking hard to answer.

Why is that? Why is talking about ourselves so hard?

After turning this idea over in my mind, I’ve come to two conclusions:

  1. We want to answer differently than everyone else.
  2. We don’t know the answers.

As humans (or maybe just as Americans), we have an innate tendency to want to be different, unique, special – like snowflakes.

Jokes aside, I think that a lot of us get tripped up because we don’t want to answer like everyone else – and that’s not a bad thing! To stand out amongst other applications, you want to show the interviewers that you bring something that they can’t get from someone else so naturally, you want to answer differently.

On the flip side, sometimes we just don’t know the answers.

In this case, some self-reflection can give you the insight you need. You can think of this as an interview with yourself to prepare for the interview with your potential future boss.

DISCLAIMER: I don’t think that you need to be applying for a new job to ask yourself these questions. Any time is the best time to try to know yourself better! Everyone can benefit from taking time to devote some brain power to answering these, even if it only unfolds a small nugget of wisdom.

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If you’re a journal nerd like me, you can turn this into a fun writing challenge to span out over a few weeks or you can simply use it as inspiration to generate answers to difficult interview/application questions.

Whatever tickles your fancy.

Without further ado, here are 20 questions you can ask yourself to get to know YOU better – your starting point to get re-acquainted with the unique person that you are:

  • What do I find myself doing when I’m not working, finishing homework, doing chores, etc?
  • What is something that helps me breathe a sigh of relief in the midst of a busy day or week?
  • When and where do I find myself being the most productive?
  • What have I been told by a teacher, boss, or coach that I am good at?
  • What is something that can almost immediately put me into a bad mood?
  • How do I get myself out of a bad mood?
  • At what time in my life was I the happiest I’ve been thus far?
  • What contributed to that point in time that made me so happy?
  • What, if anything, is different between then and now? What is the same?
  • What is something I did in my past that I still give myself a hard time for? Why?
  • When is a time that I can ‘let my hair down’ and feel relaxed?
  • How do I know when I’m stressed out?
  • Who do I admire or look up to? What characteristics do I admire them for?
  • If I could be living any kind of life right now, what kind of life would that be?
  • If I’m not living that life, what is holding me back from pursuing that lifestyle?
  • How do I show people that I care about them?
  • How do I know that others care about me?
  • What do I think it will take to get to where I want to be?
  • What is my definition of success? 
  • How do I know when I have been successful?

•••

I hope these questions helped you gain a little bit of personal insight as the weekend comes to a close. After all, no one else can be an expert on what makes you YOU.

Until next time, friends.

XO, Lain

The Counterintuitive Idea of Taking a Break From the Things You Love

Hello, all!

It’s Spring Break here in Texas and unlike the majority of Spring Breakers packing their bags for a week of debauchery and sunburns, I’m lounging in my PJ’s and preparing for a week of working with PMS-y teens, lots of dirt, and hours of swimming at camp.

I don’t know about you but spring time always infects me with MAJOR spring fever. Although this restlessness was significantly worse when I lived in the northern states – with the snow melting and nature blooming – that antsy feeling always seems to creep in around Spring Break time.

Like most folks, spring makes me want to do everything! I want to clean. I want to take on new hobbies. I want to fill up my free time doing all of my favorite things. This has sparked about 5,000 conversations between my boyfriend and I about our hopes, our goals, and our new endeavors we want to take on as the season changes.

Until one day, he suggested the completely ludicrous idea of taking a break from the things we love. 

I was totally thrown for a loop.

Here we were, talking for weeks about all of these things we loved to do and wanted to try and he was suggesting we take a break from them?

Naturally, I realized he was right after I thought about this idea a little further. (Don’t you hate it when your SO is right all the time?) But seriously, taking breaks from our passions and the things we love can be SO GOOD!

Let me share with you a few reasons why:

The Counterintuitive Idea of Taking a Break From the Things You Love

You can gain some clarity.

Taking a break from your callings can help you to get a clearer perspective on your goals and how you want to continue pursuing them. For me, an example of this is my blog – taking some time away from posting allows me the space to identify what want to get out of writing and where I’m trying to get to.

More specifically, it can challenge you to consider what your definition of success is. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – am I successful when I start posting every week? Or when I reach a certain number of followers? Or when I start promoting?

The most important thing to consider with this is what YOUR definition of success is. Like I’ve preached in almost all of my posts, everyone’s definition is going to vary, so make sure this one is about you!

New ideas and inspiration will come to you.

Not only will time away from your #things give you clarity, it will also bring new ideas and inspiration. If you’re into writing, a new plot development could find its way into your mind. Or if you’re into fitness, you could find yourself inspired by a different kind of workout that you hadn’t considered before.

These new ideas and bursts of inspiration will allow your passions to develop and transform into something they couldn’t have without taking a step back.

A break can help you to fall back in love with what you do.

Just as taking space can bring your clarity and novel inspiration, it can also help you to remember why you started and what you love about it. I saw this most clearly when I took a couple weeks off from bouldering and rock climbing. I eventually reached a point where I was SO excited to get back on the wall that I was literally bursting with joy when I laced up my shoes again.

This is an especially important reason to consider taking a break from your hobbies if you’ve been finding it challenging to do your thing. Instead of forcing it, take a break or focus on something else for awhile – you might find yourself itching with excitement to get back into it again.

It’s healthy.

The simplest and perhaps most important reason to take a break is that it’s good for you. If you’re into fitness, your body more than likely could use a little rest. If you’re into art, your hands could probably use a break from gripping those brushes and utensils. And whatever else you’re into, your mind could use a break from intense focus and stimulation.

•••

So if you’re not jet-setting off to a dream vacation this Spring Break, consider a staycation and taking a break from your hobbies and passions. Get in some R&R and heck, why not engage in some self-care?

Take care of yourselves and give yourself a break when you need it.

You’ll thank me later.

XO, Lain

How to Use Your Weekend to Re-energize and Rejuvenate

Hello, friends!

It’s Saturday morning and I’m coming to you live from the comfort of my bed,  with coffee nearby, and the sound of my boyfriend playing video games in the distance.

Have you ever had one of those weeks that just sucked? That felt like my experience last week.

Instead of sitting in those bad feelings and ruminating on the not-so-great parts, I want to share some of my thoughts on how we can use our weekends to re-energize, rejuvenate, and refresh ourselves for the upcoming week.

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Make time for yourself.

Are we surprised that I listed this one? I really, truly cannot stress this enough – make time for YOU. Weekends stacked of social events, obligations, activities, and homework are great, but they can deprive you of the opportunity to reflect on the past week and to re-center for the week ahead. Unfortunately, that can leave you feeling even more run-down and pessimistic during the week.

So make a point to sprinkle in a little bit of alone time in your days off – whether it’s your favorite self-care ritual, taking your dog for a walk, or reading for an hour in the morning. I’ve been reserving my weekend mornings for things like nourishing hair masks, painting my nails, and having non-guilty lounge time – I’ve gotta say, I’ve noticed a significant change in my mood on Monday morning after intentionally having that time for myself. Believe me, some solid alone time will help keep you grounded and refreshed for the coming week.

Make time for your people.

I know, I know, this seems contradictory. But just as too much social time can have some negative side effects, so can too much alone time. If you commit to too much alone time, you’re more likely to experience F.O.M.O (this is so real, y’all) and feel isolated or disconnected from those around you, especially if you had a shitty week leading up to your days off. Resist the urge to isolate, ruminate, and self-loathe (don’t worry, I’m guilty of this too) and embrace your snippet of freedom!

Near or far, make the effort to reach out and be present with your people. Go for a coffee date with an old friend, explore your city with a new friend, call your mom. Whatever it is, resist the urge to isolate yourself and maintain your connections – it’s a great way to get over the last week’s trials and head into the next week knowing that you’ve got the support of your loved ones on your side.

And honestly, spending time with your peeps just makes you feel good, doesn’t it?

Tidy up.

Wash your dishes, vacuum your floors, do your laundry, or re-organize your DVDs (does anyone even have DVDs anymore?). I’m a firm believer in the idea that literal cleaning helps you to feel mentally clean, or at least a little refreshed. I don’t know about you but when I get a significant amount of cleaning and tidying done, I feel PUMPED. It’s a combination of feeling productive and accomplished and more often than not, it helps me to feel motivated to keep going with that momentum during the week. An added bonus, cleaning on the weekend will likely save you from some extra chores during the week when you’ve got less time to spare.

If you want to read more about why I’m super into de-cluttering lately, click here to read my last post!

Remember: “No matter how dirty your past is, the future is still spotless.”

However you decide to spend your weekends, don’t forget that just because last week wasn’t great, doesn’t mean that next week will be the same. If you did have one of those weeks that just sucked, use the weekend to reflect on what went well and what needs some re-adjusting.

Monday morning brings a mini fresh start filled with new opportunities and a chance for amazing things to happen – a little reflection, re-adjustment, and shift in perspective can bring the change you’ve been hoping for.

Keep on keepin’ on, y’all.

Here’s to a refreshing and rejuvenating weekend, and an awesome upcoming week!

XO,

Lain

Why I’m De-Cluttering My Closet, Deleting Facebook, and Drinking Green Smoothies

Hellooooo, internet world!

I’ve been off the map for a few days for a number of reasons. I’ll list them in the order of most to least boring:

  1. Believe it or not, grad school takes up a lot of my free time.
  2. I found out I have gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Weren’t expecting that one, were ya?

Long story short, I’ve been hella busy with school and my stomach has decided to throw a temper tantrum every time I eat something. Jokes aside, it got to a point where I literally couldn’t eat anything and I became so fatigued that I didn’t do much more than drag myself to class and sleep. However, my boyfriend finally forced me to go to the doctor – and thank goodness he did because now I have a variety of stomach meds to take for a few weeks and a lighter dietary plan with foods that my stomach can tolerate. (Also big shout of to my doc! She was super nice, answered my endless list of questions, and commiserated with me about how much it sucks that I can’t eat sriracha and chocolate anymore).

So what the hell does my TMI stomach issues have to do with this post?

I’m so glad you asked.

The other day, I was sitting on the bus on my way to class and for the first time, I wasn’t reading or scrolling on my phone. I was just sitting, looking out the window, and people watching the other bus-goers, when I had a moment of clarity – like one 32a7752596e098da3bd2aaeeb617ae77of those ones you see in the movies – where I recognized that I was so overwhelmed with how content I felt. It had been so long since I let myself sit without my eyes being glued to something, in no hurry, just soaking in the moment. It was liberating.

This got me thinking more about minimalism, a topic that sparked my interest towards the end of last year. Coincidentally (or maybe not so much), one of my goals for 2017 was to turn all of my hangers around in my closet to see which clothes I actually wear in a month. Have I done that yet? Nope. My closet is still overstocked with clothes that I say I’ll wear eventually but never do.

And all of THAT got me thinking about social media and how we’re always plugged in and how our feeds are so clogged and cluttered with everyone else’s bullshit and I began wondering: Why do we do this to ourselves?

Why do we buy so many trendy clothes that we know we’re not going to wear in 2 months because by then they’ll be out of style? Why do we scroll through feeds of posts from people who are our ‘friends’ online but we don’t sustain a connection with outside of the digital realm? Why do we always need stimulation and want more, more, more? I could go down the rabbit hole trying to answer any of these questions but I’ll leave that to the minimalist experts over at TheMinimalists.com (seriously, check them out, they have a great podcast and a very informative documentary on Netflix).

Now, I’d be lying if I said I’m going to delete all of my apps, throw out all of my stuff, move into a tiny house, and live life with the bare necessities.

I’m a baby steps kinda’ girl.

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I started with deleting Facebook. Lately, my feed has been feeling like Austin traffic at 5pm on I-35: frustratingly clogged, usually purposeless, with lots of angry people who don’t give a shit about anyone around them. (If you do choose to delete FB, remember to unlink all of your other apps from it first! I figured that out the hard way).

And I’m not trying to say that there’s anything wrong with wanting to keep your Facebook. Like I’ve mantra’ed in most of my posts, making lifestyle changes are all about YOU. Maybe you’re more into the idea of a week-long social media cleanse. Or combing through your email subscriptions to de-clutter your inbox. There are endless ways to revitalize your feeds!

Next, I tackled my closet and turned all of my hangers the opposite way. In one month, I’m going to see what I actually wore by seeing which hangers are turned back around and donate the rest. From what I’ve read, there’s some awesome benefits to de-cluttering your wardrobe: you eliminate stress, save time from having less to choose from, and become a more conscious consumer. Nice, right?

And as I mentioned earlier, I’m ‘de-cluttering’ my diet. This one isn’t really by choice but deciding to spread this theme to other parts of my life has made it easier to digest (ha, food puns)! Adopting a conscious, healthful diet has so many benefits I can’t even begin to list them here – don’t believe me? Read this.

Again, don’t feel compelled to make a drastic change and commit to a vegan lifestyle or go on a crash diet. You could try a Whole30 challenge or opt for a smoothie instead of chips as a snack. Remember, it’s all about YOU and what works for you and the lifestyle you want to lead. Feel free to peruse my food board if you’re looking for some foodspiration!

I know this is a long-winded post but if you made it this far, thanks for reading! Stay healthy, stay mindful, and stay positive, friends.

XO, Lain

Have you tried ascribing to the minimalist lifestyle? How do you like to de-clutter your life?

See the Good

Hello positivity seekers,

Sitting down at my laptop to write a post has been a challenging task for me this week. I started this blog as a documentation of my journey to supplement my life with positivity and happiness – not realizing how difficult this can be on the hard days.

One of my goals for 2017 was to stop hesitating.

Hesitation has always been a cornerstone of my experience with anxiety. When I was younger (and even today), I wouldn’t try certain things that I really, really wanted to do because I couldn’t get passed ‘thinking mode.’ I had an intolerance of uncertainty and a detrimental fear of regret – essentially, I would avoid doing something until I was 100% sure that I wouldn’t regret it later.

The thing about anxious people is that most of them can articulate the irrationality of their thoughts and worries. But even so, it feels impossible to get past them or to do something in spite of them. For me, not doing something, or avoiding it all together, always seemed like a safer option in the long run.

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A few days ago, a good friend of mine called and told me that my previous manager who I had worked for throughout college had passed away.

I’ve been feeling a thousand different emotions since I got that call.

I had worked for him at a fine-dining restaurant for three and a half years while I was in college. A friend I worked with described him as “work dad” – which he totally was. He was always cracking dad jokes, poking fun at everyone, and lightening the mood. But he would also regularly check in to see how everyone was doing. More than once, he sent me home with bags of groceries because he knew I hardly had any at home. I would sit in his office long after my shifts ended to talk about my life, hardships I was struggling through, and my dreams for post-grad life.

Life got busy after I moved south when I worked at a sleep-away camp and immediately launched into grad school in the fall. I kept thinking about sending “work dad” an email or calling to check in but I kept hesitating, telling myself he more than likely didn’t have the time to read it or that he probably didn’t care that much.

One day after I told my sister that I was going to send that email, he was gone.

If I could change anything today, I would have sent that email. Ignored those anxious thoughts, ran away from the “what ifs,” and just hit send. I would’ve stopped hesitating.

Because regret is much harder to live with than the safety of not doing something.

Yes, I have regrets. Lots of “should have’s” and “could have’s” running through my mind the last few days – “I should’ve called him,” “I should’ve gone to visit last fall when I had more time” – and I’ve learned the hard way what hesitating can cost me. While getting out of a regretful place can be challenging, it’s possible. We can’t change the past, and we can’t undo what’s been done. But we can learn. We can grow. And then, we can move forward.

My advice to you all is to stop, stop, stop hesitating. Go out and do the thing! Send that email! Text that friend! Go to that new workout class! I read a quote once that talked about how most people regret the things they haven’t done more than the things they have.

I think they’re onto something.

And if you didn’t do the thing and you’re stuck in that low, shitty, regretful place, don’t unpack and stay there. Learn from it. Grow from it. Move forward.

And most importantly, see the good – even on the hard days. If you don’t see it the first time you look, look again. I promise it’s always there.

 

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XO, Lain